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Introduction to Career Skills
This section of Mind Tools looks at tools and approaches you can use to manage your career successfully. It starts with five articles which help you think about career direction. These tools help you uncover what you do best and identify the types of work that you’ll enjoy doing most. From this, you can figure out how to make the most of your skills and preferences, whether in your current role or in a new one. Amongst these, our article on Personal SWOT Analysis shows you how you can apply the wellknown SWOT strategy tool to your life and career, helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities open to you and the threats you face. This leads naturally into the idea of job crafting. This is something that many of us do subconsciously to some extent, but our article gives you a rigorous approach that you can use to craft your ideal job. Our next group of articles help you to develop your career in various ways. We show you what you can be doing now to future proof your careerand to get ready for promotion. And if you’re frustrated because your hard work and abilities are going unnoticed, find out how to get the recognition you deserve. Of course, despite your best efforts and preparation, careers don’t always go to plan, especially in a volatile economic climate. So we show you how to live with a lack of job security and how to cope with life after job loss. Yet even when the economy’s booming, you can still face challenging career situations such as hitting a “glass ceiling”. Find out what you can do to break through these! We round off this section with two articles that will help you transition through significant events in your career. First, we look at what you can do when you get a new boss, and then we see how to wrap up in one role before moving on.
Personal SWOT Analysis :Making the Most of Your Talents and Opportunities.
"Chance – Louis Pasteur
You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do.
So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.
How to Use the Tool
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the questions in each area below.
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What advantages do you have that others don't have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)? What do you do better than anyone else? What personal resources can you access? What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths? Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit? Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people?
Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don't be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths! You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on "Your Reflected Best Self™".
Tip: Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you're a great mathematician and the people around you are also great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity.
• • • •
What tasks do you usually avoid because you don't feel confident doing them? What will the people around you see as your weaknesses? Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest? What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress? Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.
Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don't see? Do coworkers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it's best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
• • • • • • •
What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet? Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market? Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice? What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them? Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes? Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling? Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?
You might find useful opportunities in the following:
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Networking events, educational classes, or conferences. A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person's projects to gain experience? A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations. A company expansion or acquisition. Do you have specific skills (like a second language) that could help with the process?
Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.
• • • • •
What obstacles do you currently face at work? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles? Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing? Does changing technology threaten your position? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?
Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.
A Personal SWOT Example
What would a personal SWOT assessment look like? Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.
• • • •
I'm very creative. I often impressing clients with a new perspective on their brands. I communicate well with my clients and team. I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle. I'm completely committed to the success of a client's brand.
• • •
I have a strong, compulsive need to do things quickly and remove them from my "to do" list, and sometimes the quality of my work suffers as a result. This same need to get things done also causes me stress when I have too many tasks. I get nervous when presenting ideas to clients, and this fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations.
• • •
One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly. I'm attending a major marketing conference next month. This will allow for strategic networking, and also offer some great training seminars. Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties while she's away would be a great career development opportunity for me.
• • •
Simon, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker than I am, and he's competing with me for the art director position. Due to recent staff shortages, I'm often overworked, and this negatively impacts my creativity. The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry. Many firms have laid off staff members, and our company is considering further cutbacks.
As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his. By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.
A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that you face. This helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
Finding Career Direction
Discover Yourself and Your Purpose
How long has it been since you asked yourself what you want to be when you grow up? If you haven't considered the idea since high school, then you may have settled into a job that is not fulfilling your professional aspirations, or your purpose. Each of us has particular talents that, when expressed or exercised, make the world a better place. Most likely you enjoy doing these things, and you find that people respond well to you when you do them. Perhaps they're things you gravitate towards during out-of-hours activities, and that people respect you for. When you develop these talents as far as you can, you can make your greatest possible contribution to the world, and enjoy personal and professional satisfaction that goes along with this.
consider your answers to the following questions: • • • • • • • • When have you been most committed.6 Your Career Direction Journey The process of uncovering what you are meant to do. passionate and enthusiastic? When have you been most creative? When have you been most sure of yourself and your decisions? What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? When have other people considered you to be most successful? When have you enjoyed your work most? What talents were you relying on. in which you identify the jobs you want and put yourself in the best possible position to get them. Who Am I? 2. and reinvention. you keep yourself heading toward the right career even when the actual direction shifts over time. Discovering Who You Really Are The first question to answer is "Who am I?" We'll take two approaches to answering this . Exploring Your Talents First of all. In fact. and stresses of everyday life. defenses. Once unmasked.firstly asking you to explore your talents. By taking a talent-based approach to your career search right from the start. your journey continues with specific career exploration and identification of a career that allows you to make good use of your talents. and using. This approach consists of sequentially answering three questions: 1. this journey never really ends because work itself is all about change. is a journey. And it moves on with a focused job or career move. that is finding career direction. How Do I Get Hired? 1. growth. in these situations? For what would you take a very strong stand? . development. It starts with discovering the essential "you": the person who truly resides behind the facades. and secondly using psychometric tests to explore your preferences. What Do I Want to Do? 3.
Rank these in order. think about what personality type is most likely to be successful in these careers. it does help you discover what motivates and energizes you. however considering the importance of what you're doing. You also discover potential points of friction with people of other personality types. we'll look at using personality inventories as a way of looking at your preferred way of working relative to other people. This in turn empowers you to seek those elements in the work you choose to do.you can't capture the whole complexity of your personality and experience with only a few questions.7 • • • • What about the world puzzles or disturbs you that you could make an impact on? What jobs do you like to do at work when you have a choice? What activities are you drawn towards out of work? If money were no concern. Tip: If you're having problems choosing. That said. DISC (Dominance. Steadiness and Conscientiousness) and the strength finder evaluation in "Now Discover Your Strengths". Tip 2: It can be hard initially to see how to apply these tests. Tip 1: Some of these cost quite a lot of money. what would you be doing? Brainstorm each of these questions. One trick is to turn things around. Influence. and avoid the things that . and as you identify possible careers. While no personality type is good or bad. Is there a match or a mismatch? We'll do this later. you'll probably find the tests quite insightful! With personality testing you learn what you have in common with other people. it is probably worth investing in them if you haven't already done so. and then use your answers to identify the top three talents that you most use when you're successful. Personality Inventories Next. Tip 3: Treat these tests as advisory only . There are many typologies available including Myers-Briggs. use a technique like paired comparison analysis to rank things in order.
the next stage is to think about what you want to do. The activities you get most satisfaction from. This is an important step toward self-discovery and defining your purpose. or to prefer one thing to another. what is your payoff for making the choices you make? When you know the "why" it is easier to see how you can become fulfilled through the work you do. Tip: When you're doing this. be careful not just to look back nostalgically at simple jobs where you performed well . and where others didn't. ill-fitting jobs demand different talents from the ones that you have. Finding Out What You Want to Do Now that you know who you are. 2. The starting point is to do some brainstorming on the jobs that you think would suit who you are. and then extend this list with some more brainstorming. The talents you achieve most with. your career must be aligned with who you are: Otherwise you'll be unhappy with work. In psychological terms. your beliefs. If you try to pursue a career path that is at odds with your values. . As you explore your personality you come to realize that who you are is really determined by the choices you make. For your life to be balanced and fulfilled. The type of activity the psychometrics you've completed guide you towards. Use it to answer the following questions: • • • • What your talents and strengths are. and your way of seeing the world. and you'll probably underachieve. many different people could perform well in these situations. Write a "Who I Am" Statement Now draw this together into a simple written statement of who you are. then you'll struggle constantly and be under a great deal of stress and pressure. You can take this self-awareness one step further by examining why you make the choices you do. and this gives you little information.after all. We'll then confirm this with some different psychometric tests. After all. You choose to react one way over another. Focus instead on more difficult areas where you made a positive difference.8 frustrate and demotivate you. You then need to spend some time researching the top careers you've identified.
com iii.9 i.. industry and profession. if you're profoundly unhappy with your company. if there are other roles within your existing company that would be worth trying. Exploring the Options You Know About Starting with your "Who I Am" statement.self-directed-search. compared with ditching everything and starting completely afresh (while this sounds glamorous and enticing. they can't recommend new careers. Using the test results as a starting point. Because of this. Once you've done this. but limited career selection advice: Princeton Review Career Quiz Chargeable (but inexpensive. . who may be much younger than you. start thinking about all of the jobs you can see that would suit you someone with the talents and interests in that statement (by depersonalizing it in this way. and with good selections of possible careers): http://www. do some brainstorming to see if there are new technology careers which demand similar personality types.") Starting here is particularly important if you're already established in a career: It's important to capitalize where you can on the experience and contacts you've already built up. a radical career change may be the best thing. Thinking Further The unavoidable flaw with these career tests is that they're based on backward-looking data. extend out and brainstorm the other options available. ii. On the other hand. Useful ones are: Free. and can only cope with the major career types. nor do they know about less well-known careers.) So start by asking yourself if your current role can be adapted to suit you much better..com http://www. or whether similar roles in other organizations might be more rewarding.assessment. or if there are more obscure careers that may also be open. it puts you in the position of competing equally with other career starters. you help to avoid "being too close to the issue. Using Career Tests The next stage is to use online career tests to explore options that you might have missed.
10 iv. Visiting company websites. some of them may turn out to be quite bad!) Again. We're not asking you to choose one now. and perhaps to move. but it is necessary in order to eliminate choices that seem to be great fits on the surface but really won't align with your mission and purpose. qualifications needed. looking at job vacancies to see if the career is in demand. rather than a lifetime kicking yourself for making a bad choice! Methods for researching careers include: • Researching the career using sites like Acinet. and what the issues and problems within it are. Attending professional and trade shows. Reading industry/career magazines and get a sense of how "happy" the industry is. use paired comparison analysis to rank your choices. Participating in job fairs. Conducting your own PEST Analysis to confirm your own view of likely career trends. if you're having trouble prioritizing. this is quite tedious. But think about the consequences of getting things wrong! Surely it's worth spending time exploring your options. Understanding what talents and personalities make people successful in the career. you now need to research the various options you have to make money doing so. Perform Career Research Armed with a solid understanding of how you can participate in fulfilling work. v. Understanding where organizations are based. Also. Career research is not something many people relish. Now's the time to cut these down and prioritize them. You'll now have identifies a wide range of possible careers open to you. and keep an eye on how companies are talked about in the press. and mapping these back against your own talents and personality. but to cut down to your top 5 or 6 choices (the reason being that when you start researching these careers. job availability. so that you can understand industry trends. job pay levels. Working part time and/or seasonally in the industry.org. and deciding if you're prepared to travel to interviews. Pulling This Together. Volunteering. etc. • • • • • • • • • . Yes. who the major players in it are.
This is a mistake because unless you have a plan. "What am I going to do to get hired?" With your "Who I Am" statement and your research as your compass. a job that sounds really glamorous. • • • • Start by writing down the career you want. What is your long-term vision for yourself in terms of your career? Write down the steps you need to take or the things you need to accomplish. you may have rejected several possible careers. an opening that Uncle Vinny has. the better the job . • These are your short term goals. in order to get there. Tip 2: Recognize that the more opportunities you have. or a whole host of other distractions. Develop your plan first and you're more likely to get where you want to go. Go back and identify contingency plans • Do a "what if" analysis on your goals "If you don't get accepted to grad school this year. Answering "How do I Get Hired?" In this last phase you answer. 3. Now's the time to narrow down to one! Again. • Be sure to express as SMART objectives. You will also have much more confidence in yourself despite the bumps in the road.11 Tip: Be careful when using career trends to identify career possibilities: The desire to pursue an up and coming career may overshadow your mission and purpose. Paired Comparison Analysis may be useful here. Many people tend to move from their purpose right into job search mode. it is far too easy to get derailed by a lucrative job offer. however so can Grid Analysis which helps you make comparisons where many variables are involved. Also be aware that there's a natural desire from people within an industry to inflate its prospects (to ensure a good supply of new recruits in the future. now you need to actually map your progress. faster. This will only lead to dissatisfaction down the road.) Take official figures with a pinch of salt! By the end of all of this research. What qualifications should you get? What experience should you build? Which organization will give you the best start? For each of these steps create a detailed implementation plan. what will you do?" Tip: The more contingency plans you have the more likely you will be able to survive the inevitable setbacks.
You are no longer having fun. The more effort you put into the planning stages the better your results. if you’re a science person. There are certainly no guarantees but with the right amount of planning and a sufficient dose of reality. You know when you are in a job you like. You also know when the task you're doing just isn't right for you. Likewise. emotional work and you may have to go through this process a few times in the span of your working life. Signs a career direction evaluation may be in order: • • • • • • Your job lacks challenge and excitement for you. you may not be happy working in a job that needs quick decisions. The trick to finding career satisfaction can be to identify those core interests and match your job to them. Your promotional and/or development opportunities are limited. the career that you are meant for will materialize. The effort however. For example. Concentrate on creating as many opportunities as possible! Now you are free to pursue your dream career with confidence. Learning is replaced with routine. What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: These are the things that we enjoy doing. whatever the industry or the job title. • Key Points Finding career direction is a process. You sense that your skills and talents are being wasted. You are suffering from stress or depression. Using "Holland's Codes" Shaping a career that suits your personality. or where you need to use your “gut” to guide you. artistic people would be . Uncovering your true self and your purpose is heavy. You are feeling unappreciated. is certainly worth it when you end up with a clear sense of the direction your career should be taking.12 that you'll be able to choose.
However this is not a perfect world: For all sorts of reasons. tools. 2. or enjoy working with objects. Avoid activities that seem mundane. power. practical. Investigative (I): Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature. Value scientific endeavors. Investigative people: • • • See themselves as highly intelligent. commercial or "enterprising". You’re likely to find that jobs that suit your ability and personality are much more rewarding than those that don’t. Common traits: • Hard-headed. . or which demands a lot of number crunching. materialistic. we can find ourselves in positions where what we’re doing just doesn’t suit our natural interests and abilities. inflexible. Here we look at your work interests – an important part of your work personality. but often lack leadership skills.money. those that need interaction with other people. persistent. Realistic (R): These are people who like well-ordered activities. Ability and personality are the two main things contribute towards job satisfaction. but may not be good with people. intellectual. Value concrete and tangible things like . In a perfect world. we would all choose careers that suit our core interests. Understanding the Theory: Holland’s Codes In the 1970s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types: 1. precise. Realistic people: • • • See themselves as mechanically or athletically talented. Avoid "social" activities. This is where understanding how job and personality fit together can help you change the situation for the better.13 driven mad in a profession that has lots of rules and procedures. and genuine. and machines. curious. pessimistic. and status. and reserved. Common traits: • Analytical.
sensitive. Value aesthetics. Value social activities. Common traits: • Extroverted. developing. curing and enlightening others. Value political and economic achievement. and exhibitionistic. training. sociable. introspective. reproducing materials. and cooperative. and organizing written or numerical data. 4.14 3. Artistic people: • • • See themselves as talented artists. persuasive. Avoid activities demanded by "realistic" occupations and situations. optimistic. These Enterprising people: • • • See themselves as aggressive. understanding and able to teach others. popular. emphatic. Conventional people . and enjoy using materials to create art. Avoid activities demanded by "investigative" occupations and situations. Social (S): Social people enjoy informing. ambitious. Social people: • • • Perceive themselves as helpful. adventurous. Common traits: • Idealistic. filing. Artistic (A): Artistic people like unstructured activities. people enjoy reaching Enterprising organizational goals or achieving economic (E): gain. but may lack scientific ability. record keeping. 5. impractical and nonconformist. Avoid "conventional" occupations or situations. complicated . great leaders and speakers. patient. tactful. Conventional (C): 6. Conventional people enjoy manipulating data. Common traits: • Generous.
For example Artistic people are least like Conventional people and most like Social and Investigative people. a Realistic person would be best suited for a Technical job and least suited for Social job. The way that this works in practice is that people use a personality test to identify their three top personality types. and that the distance between work personalities indicates the degree of difference in interests between them. below) organized according to people's preference for working with different stimuli at work: people. the career most aligned with that type is most likely to be enjoyable and satisfying. and ideas. practical. inflexible. ESA). Holland's theory is that people with different personality types prefer working with different work stimuli. Jobs with Conventional or Operational characteristics would be the next best choices. This is then matched against the Holland's codes of people typically found within particular careers. defensive.15 • • • See themselves as having clerical and numerical ability. Avoid unstructured or "artistic" activities. data. and methodical. conscientious. Common traits: • Efficient. This gives their Holland's code (for example. things. The Model Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon (see figure 1. Holland's conclusion was that for any personality type. . Value business and economic achievement. For example.
To shape your job. These are more Artistic responsibilities. one costs US$9. not who we really are. (If so.99) and a good one will show you the careers and professions that most suit your code once you've completed it. This can save you a huge amount of painstaking research! Step ii: To further explore your "true" work personality. One strategy to deal with this is to . Use this to decide whether your job is a good fit for your interests or not. explore any differences between your assessment of yourself and theirs. or in helping you shape your existing job so that you maximize your fulfillment. costing different amounts – you can find them by typing "Holland Code Assessment" into Google. However. if you were asked to organize the Christmas party. use our complete process. and so on. you might be very uncomfortable about deciding about decorations. and friends categorize me?" Show some of your friends and co-workers descriptions of the types and ask them to categorize you. ask yourself. which is made all the easier by some useful online interest evaluation sites. family. Are they aligned with your work personality? Step iv: List those responsibilities that are aligned in one column and those that are not in another. Using Holland's Codes is a straightforward process. Part Two: Analyze your job in terms of your interests Step iii: Look at your main tasks and responsibilities. Try one: Does the assessment say what you thought it would? If they aren't. work out at least one way of bringing the two sides together. There are many of these. if you are a "Conventional" person working in an administrative position. entertainment. Step v: For each of the job roles where your interests are not well matched.16 How to Use Holland Codes Career Model: There are two good ways of using this model – either in helping you choose a career that suits you. ask yourself why: Often we choose a personality type that reflects who we want to be. Here again. just complete steps i and ii below. many of your roles will be in-line with your interests. which are directly opposite to your Conventional ways. You may want to take an official Holland Code Assessment. Part One: Identify your Work Personality Step i: Read through the brief descriptions given above and find the one you most identify with. For instance. learn from this!) Tip 1: Do try the online tests – they're not expensive (for example. To find your ideal career according to this approach. "How would my spouse.
You maintain the Administrative duties and get rid of the Artistic ones. Part Three: Set Goals to Bring Your Interests and Responsibilities in line Step vi: The best way of making sure that something gets done is to set a specific. This helps you develop your career in the right direction – one that will be a source of long-term fulfillment. Likewise. Tip 3: Also bear in mind that as you develop in your career you'll need to extend your skills into new areas. and set realistic goals to change things. as well as other skills that normally go with other personality types (if you're going to be a CEO. and set the goals that will lead you there. you need to develop the "Social" ability to work with other people. Every occupation requires a particular set of characteristics. This helps you think about what you want to achieve with your life. Identify two or three of the most important problem areas. If you're thinking about your career. you can identify areas of dissatisfaction and help you plan how to address these. . and do well. and the focus of the job has changed subtly. there's a lot of "Conventional" work that you just have to do.) Key Points Holland’s Career Codes provides a useful framework for exploring your personal interests and the careers most likely to suit you. Make sure that you interpret any conclusions with common sense. time limited goal. and the way it fits with the future shape of your life.17 delegate the Artistic tasks and assume responsibility for making sure the tasks get done. Tip 2: Remember that this is a model – it's a useful way of looking at things. In particular. look at our Life Plan Workbook. By identifying your particular interests you can quickly uncover the parts of your job that give your satisfaction. Job Crafting Shaping your job to fit you better Have you ever noticed something like this going on at work? It's now about six months since the arrival of a new Program Office Administrator. as you take responsibility for people and then move upwards within an organization. but it can't possibly capture all of the complexities of the ways that people behave at work.
2. making a big contribution to the efficiency and organization of the team. follow these steps: 1. The idea here is that many jobs are actually quite flexible. or using your knowledge to change working methods. Evaluate how the change will impact you and your work environment. Practically any job can be crafted. The ways that that Rebecca and Stephen crafted their work as Program Office Administrators fell into this category. meaning that their focus can be adjusted to fit the skills and preferences of the current job-holder. Stephen. Overall. using her competence in finance to develop new procedures for checking the monthly financial reports for all of the projects in the program. So. • Task content: This involves improving the way that things are done. you can play to your strengths. though. Let's look at each of these steps in more detail. use the Reflected Best Self™ exercise to explore them. Rebecca. How to start crafting your job today To "craft your job". adjust and continue. has a particular flair for graphic design. and away from those where your performance is likely to be weaker. what's going on? The answer is that both Rebecca and Stephen have been using the concept of job crafting. You shift the emphasis of the job towards things that you can do really well. 3. Step 1: Decide what you want to change by crafting your job You can make changes in one or more of the following areas to craft the way you work. they've both been really good performers.18 The previous post-holder. however. using skills that you already have. did a great job. (If you're not sure what your strengths are. but what makes it a really powerful tool is that it allows you to increase the control you have over your own professional life. Her successor. Act to put positive change in place. so that it's closer to your "ideal" job.) . Decide what you want to change. Job crafting may seem like a simple idea. it's about creating opportunities to play to your strengths. and you can start whenever you want. so that you can generate better results. Check on progress. 4. improving both satisfaction and performance. while "wowing" your employer at the same time. without necessarily consulting managers or having to wait for their approval. at least to some extent. In short. By subtly redesigning your job like this. He's now enhancing the different progress reports to make key information stand out more effectively.
• Note: Crafting job purpose doesn't involve any actual changes in the content of your work. For example. Stephen might volunteer to mentor new hires. you might be tempted to craft your job so that you spend more time in the test lab. For example. you might look for ways to have more satisfying interactions with other people during the course of your work each day. it won't help you to expand your skills or affect your output greatly. more effective workforce. Purpose: You can also redefine your existing work to reflect what you see as being the real impact of what you do at work. So make sure you're headed for a mutually beneficial outcome. go back to Step 1. If this isn't the case. Here. Avoid any temptation to turn a job crafting exercise into a win-lose situation. you may have significant experience in using your organization's internal accounting system. In our example. and see if other job crafting changes might work better! . your colleagues. You could volunteer to train new-hires on the system. For more on this. or more interaction with people from other departments. if you dislike having meetings with your supervisor. Remember that effective job crafting usually depends on finding a win-win solution. What you get out this could be simple enjoyment because you enjoy teaching people things. or a boost to your own self-esteem. read our article on Creating Job Satisfaction. and while this can certainly add to your enjoyment of your work. and the organization as a whole. Step 2: Evaluate how crafting your job will impact you and your environment Next. where she's less likely to find you! You might achieve your short-term goal of avoiding these meetings. your supervisor or manager. What your organization gets from this is a better-trained. For example. but the overall impact may well be negative. you should take into account your clients.19 • Relationships: Here. a programmer working in the IT department of an airline could reframe his or her work from "writing code" to "helping people enjoy trouble-free travel". or provide updates on system changes for your colleagues. or at least that your job crafting is compatible with your work environment. you need to assess the potential impact of these possible changes on your wider work environment. So look for things you could change in the first two categories to get the most out of job crafting.
Job crafting gives you the chance to turn this situation around. ensure that your boss and clients are happy with what's going on. in itself. and you accepted that when you were hired! Make absolutely sure that. you can let your changes become a habit.20 Also. or expect. and make sure that it really is compatible with your wider work environment. adjust and continue Having gone through Steps 1. and you decide to make the necessary changes. Tip 1: You can always ask your manager's opinion about how you're crafting your job. you're fully meeting the objectives you've been set. nothing will come of it. . 2 and 3 above. Step 4: Check on your job crafting progress. check that it gives you what you want. The only condition is that your decisions must have positive outcomes for your organization. Step 3: Act to put positive job crafting change in place At this stage. If everything checks out. it's time to put your job crafting into practice. What job crafting can do for you The benefits of job crafting can include: • • • Giving you greater enjoyment from what you do at work. as mentioned in Step 2. And of course. perfecting the skill of job crafting can. This is the phenomenon whereby people have become so accustomed to indifference to their contributions that they believe that no matter what they do. the key is to get rid of any symptom of what psychologists call "learned helplessness". lead to career enhancement opportunities. By refocusing your job in this way. In job crafting. Helping you approach your work with more energy and enthusiasm. When you have a number of other people to supervise. you need to take them into account when you consider any job crafting. After all. even small changes in how you work can have significant effects on the people who depend on you. you take the initiative! Tip 2: Don't expect to be able to redefine your job completely. within your recrafted job. But don't wait for. you decide what's going to make you feel better valued and more productive. if you have any managerial responsibilities. and you feel good about what's happening. your employer wanted someone to carry out your duties. Encouraging real personal development by improving skills. managerial input or approval before you start.
What we do know for certain is that change is a constant in the workplace. you may uncover some interesting ideas. and so find out what might also work for you. Key Points Job crafting is something that you decide to do. you look for a win-win solution. will your job even exist in its present form in five years. and then. compare notes with other colleagues who are appreciated at work and who clearly enjoy their jobs. you make sure they become a habit. so that it suits you better. This is a template that you can buy on-line to help you apply the ideas discussed here.21 Tip 3: For pointers on how you might set about job crafting. you put the changes into practice. what will happen to the company and industry you work for? We really don't know what the future holds. or in 10 or even 20 years time? And over this time. By categorizing their experiences according to the list in Step 1. having checked they're having a positive effect. The benefits you can get from crafting your job include boosting results. How can you predict and prepare for this workplace of the future? What should you be doing now to make sure you don't find yourself facing a dead end in your career? . building skills and increasing your general ability to cope with your work. This means that what we are doing now will be different in the future. An important element of successful job crafting is that it's you who takes the initiative: you don't need to wait for your manager or supervisor to give you instructions. increasing enjoyment. Start crafting today! The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) at the University of Michigan has a useful Job Crafting Exercise. There are four basic steps: you decide what you want to change. Future Proof Your Career Developing skills for your future as well as for today How will your job be different five years from now? Indeed. in order to change aspects of your current job.
however. stress management and interpersonal skills are all fundamental requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow. If you're in a highly technical field of work. your kit may need to adapt as well. so that you remain in demand in the marketplace. Your specific technical skills may get out of date. Refer back to this list often and take inventory of what you should be doing either differently from. Get and remain tech-savvy. be proactive and stay current even when your company does not. Develop a five year learning plan to acquire the knowledge and education you need. it has high risk of obsolescence attached. Future Proofing Kit Find an "Academy" company. even if new developments don't seem directly related to your current job. specialization is no longer the route of choice. And yes. And remember. what you are doing now. skills and abilities can help you secure a new job or may even open the door to working in a new industry. Leadership. you are enrolled in a continuous development program that goes well beyond the technical skills you need for your current role. They will help you keep your skills current and your opportunities open. Along with technical skills. as your own circumstances change. Force yourself to keep your technical skills current. Pick and choose from among them to build your unique Future Proofing Kit. If that means learning the newest online tools like blogging and web conferencing. do it. you'll get left behind and may have to catch up a huge amount before you can head off in a new direction in the future. or in addition to. This forms a great foundation for a successful career. use the tips found in the Personal Goal Setting article to help you set development goals effectively. skills and experience. Otherwise. We keep finding faster and leaner ways to do things. To maximize your chances of success. Much of the change we see has to do with new technology. It can pay off for some. it is critically important to continue your professional development. Monitor and track your progress. . Develop cross-functional skills. Here are some ways to do this: • • • • Choose two competencies or skills to improve each year.22 This article gives you some strategies you can begin pursuing now. get a job at a company renowned in its industry for developing its people (traditional examples are GE. You need to develop the transferable skills that are universally sought by employers. Toyota and Mars. A broad range of competencies. Develop your competencies. make sure you use it to plan your skills development. innovation. That's why you see nurses with business skills and technology experts with financial experience. and if you have our Personal Development Plan Workbook. consider joining our Career Excellence Club to learn these skills. If you're early in your career. Beyond a certain stage in your career and in uncertain environments.) When you work for this kind of company. communication.
• • • • • Track your duties. you have the added bonus of learning new skills. Having a list of objective strengths and accomplishments can do a lot to improve your motivation and belief in your abilities. Learning another language. Asking for assignments that require international exposure. your profession and the industry you are in. This will make you much more attractive to employers in the future. Note your volunteer work. When you add a mentor or two to your network. Scan the environment. projects and results. Build and maintain a professional network. it is much easier to recall your most relevant achievements and skills. The more experience you get. The time to start thinking about your accomplishments and skills is not when you are looking for a new job. however stay ahead of the crowd ." In many industries. Be aware of changes and trends in the economy. Keep a list of professional development activities you've participated in. and can provide opportunities when your current position looks uncertain. clients and stakeholders now and in the future can be from anywhere in the world. No one can accurately predict the future. List the training you've completed. Use this success journal to track your strengths and successes and also to affirm your wonderful qualities as well. They can bring you along with them as they weather changes. Join professional networking associations. When you have a ready list of things you have done. File your performance reviews and the written letters and emails you receive that note your performance. Employers want to know what you will do for them. geographical barriers to business are getting less and less relevant. Participate in a wide range of activities and build relationships beyond your current career or industry. You need to be proactive and take continuous inventory of what you do really well. Make sure that you develop good relationships with people both within and outside your organization. technologies and strategies that will help you move your career in the direction you want. All of us need to boost our confidence and self esteem from time to time. Your co-workers. These people will be invaluable as the landscape of work changes. • • • • Collect business cards. Create and maintain a success journal. the more confidence you will have when working in the global marketplace. the accolades you have been given and the noteworthy results you've been responsible for.23 "Think global. You need to acquire the ability to work within the international marketplace by: • • • Learning about working with diverse cultures. Keep track of former bosses and colleagues.
Because the future is uncertain. For many. • • • Evaluate and affirm your strengths on a regular basis. Build your flexibility and maintain your enthusiasm despite what is happening around you. Analyze the attractiveness of your company using Porter's Five Forces and USP Analysis. however hard you work. boredom and. All of these techniques can be very useful as you begin to plan and prepare for your future. you can take control of your future career . you can ensure the skills you bring to the table are. You need to become good at both to secure your future career. and development may be blocked. People who will be successful are those with the ability to bounce back and consider such setbacks as learning experiences. listen to the Expert Interview with Cal Crow.24 by keeping yourself informed. This will lead to frustration.that have long-term sustainability. If you think your company or industry is in trouble. it's best to get out while the going's good! Overall. This is where you need to review your options and take action to unblock your career. then this is a problem: There may be no onward path.and for employers . Keep a clear career path open. Being an expert in a dying field may provide a niche strategy into the medium term. and choosing to work in industries . Complete a PEST analysis for your industry and others you are interested in. And they all have in common the elements of risk management and career planning. It is better to prepare now. With some forethought and planning. avoid industries and companies that are on a downward slide. however. even if it means a job. monitor your progress and identify what is holding you back. opportunities will most-likely appear with alarming regularity. failure to achieve your potential.or career-change. This may not be a problem if you're in a fast growth industry . Key Points: While your job description may not be relevant in the future. See our article on Career Planning to find out how to do this.if you're good at what you do. You may be fortunate enough to be in an organization where there's a clear and attractive career path ahead of you. Back your hunches and analysis with action. in the long term. this will not be the case. However if you're in a slow growth industry or are one in decline. To learn more about resiliency. Develop realistic and achievable goals. Develop resilience. • • • • Keep track of business trends by reading a good newspaper and the industry press. you will eventually have to leave. you will probably encounter setbacks no matter how much you prepare and plan.
In this article. but volunteering isn't just about doing charity work: it's also a great way to acquire new skills that would be hard to learn elsewhere. But you fear you may not get the opportunity. for many people. What about joining an employee relations committee? Or . what are some alternative ways of learning the skills you need. Sure. Overcoming a Lack of Qualifications Gaining the skills you need Imagine this scenario: You're doing a great job in your current role. and it could advance your career to exciting new levels. it is in how attuned you are to the early indications of change. Let's say you've heard a rumor that a management position at your company will open up in the next few months. you've got some useful skills. You've always wanted to work in management.they may be advertised on a bulletin board or company intranet . without spending too much time and money? The good news is that there are several ways to overcome your lack of qualifications. you can show initiative. When you realize that change is constant and you are constantly planning so you stay ahead of the game. and you're so inspired by the new role that you know you would quickly gain the necessary knowledge. and you'd like to apply for the job as soon as the vacancy is advertised. it's not always realistic or practical to obtain those qualifications. and keep an eye out for opportunities that arise in your organization .25 today. So you ask yourself: Do you really have the time or desire to quit your current job to pursue that advanced degree you need? Can you afford to spend the money or vacation time on executivelevel coaching courses? While gaining formal qualifications is the best way of advancing your career. This is something you feel passionate about. The key is not so much in how skilled you are at predicting what will happen. but you've recently become interested in a completely different line of work. you will find yourself in a great position to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. Volunteer This may come as a surprise. What can you do? Well.even if they are not directly related to your current job. we offer strategies for gaining the skills necessary to help you secure the job of your dreams. But you currently have no management experience. So. The only problem is that this new type of work requires qualifications or experience that you currently don't have.
you might be able to learn the skills you need for your ideal job during your regular work day. Although you may not see immediate results. But if you take a job as a receptionist at a media organization. The important thing is to see your name in print. Many nonprofits . project management. You can write a few articles in your spare time. it may be worth exploring this option if it helps you reach your ultimate goal. don't dismiss the long-term value of the knowledge you'll gain. and the good impression you'll make. in the long term. and ask your new journalist colleagues for feedback. volunteering for extra jobs or projects can also help you prove to your boss that you can handle increased responsibilities. if you really want to make a career change. and to build up your portfolio. then applying for a related position. Start at a Lower Level This may not seem to make sense at first. You'll then be in an ideal position if there's a job opening for a writer. . you'll soon gain detailed knowledge of how a newspaper works. you'll be able to show that you have experience successfully running a team. When it's time to apply for that management position. can at least lead you one step closer to the job you really want. fundraising. depending on the new company or position. marketing. Imagine that you'd like to start a career as a journalist. Failing to consider a lower-level position might mean you would miss out on these opportunities. If you can't identify opportunities within your company. and you can add them to your résumé when you apply for a promotion or new job. then consider volunteering for community organizations. as a volunteer. And. chances are pretty high that you won't get a writing position without a portfolio. with fewer responsibilities and fewer requirements.such as school boards and youth work programs look for people to do accounting. you won't get paid for it). These skills are highly valued in the business world. Why would you apply for a position further down the ladder from the one you want? Here's the reason: If you have no qualifications or experience for a specific role. Well.26 how about a planning committee that's organizing a major company event? Why not volunteer to run it? Taking on new duties will involve more work (and. but you have no experience writing feature stories or working in a newspaper environment. The company might offer training seminars. But it's also an opportunity to be involved with managing a group of people. you could make the transition to full-time journalist. budgeting. Applying 'downward' may not seem appealing in the short term. or reimburse you for outside classes. You can even offer to help out with some of the smaller articles. However. You're a good writer. As well as learning new skills. and more. Eventually. writing.
Several years of rigorous medical training is essential here . each exploring a different area of relationship building.27 However. This is because it's often more efficient than going to classes on campus. With distance learning. you attend class at the time and place of your choice . Asking Questions and Telling Stories. Imagine that you decide to take an executive workshop on relationship building. do bear in mind that certain occupations require specific qualifications and experience. or on weekends. and leadership are just a few subjects you could study in a distancelearning program. business management. however. This is an admirable demonstration of your commitment to excel in your career. marketing. For example. Take Advantage of Distance Learning Distance learning (Internet-based classes) allows you to gain additional qualifications while working full time. Perhaps the biggest benefit to distance learning is that. Take Executive-level Workshops Executive-level courses can help you gain qualifications in a specific area.something you would have to consider on a practical level before making such a commitment. You don't have to waste time driving to and from campus. You could attend lectures on topics such as Barriers to Relationship Building. And. in the evenings. Executive-level workshops. so you'll have a better chance at a career in upper management. which may have only one lecture on building relationships. Executive-level workshops can be expensive. These are usually intense training sessions that last anywhere from one day to a week or more.and at a much lower cost . accounting and finance. If you attend a longer workshop (lasting a week. For example. because it's so common now (compared to even a few years ago). a traditional campus class is usually taught by one professor.plus group exercises and one-to-one coaching. Skills like project management. you can become certified or earn a degree in almost any area. because you work on your own (instead of at the pace of an entire class).on your lunch hour. then just helping out on a hospital ward will not be enough to secure the job of your dreams. The Cost of Building and Maintaining Relationships. but they're terrific ways to learn some specific skills to add to your résumé. Executive workshops often use several different approaches to teach upper-level managers important new skills that will help them advance their careers. you may have to use your vacation time.than a traditional school. Instead of a traditional management class. often use lectures from several different experts . and so on. if you want to become a medical doctor. . you can often complete a qualification in less time . for example). workshops might offer several different lectures. personnel development.
especially if you can prove that the skills you'll learn will be useful for future projects or tasks. 'Man's Search for Meaning' . If you're still not sure. Where possible.. 3. you don't necessarily have to give up your dream. our article on Finding Career Direction could help. to choose one's way. If you need professional qualifications to secure your ideal job. 4. Consider where your next career move will be. If that's not practical.28 but make sure you still have enough remaining days off to take a real vacation during the year. This will strengthen your qualifications. and give you a chance to examine whether you really want the new job enough to work hard for it. Consider accepting a lower-level position to gain experience in a new field. You may not only impress your company with your ambition and enthusiasm. but prove to them that you really do care about the job. This can often be as enlightening as the knowledge you acquire along the way. find out whether courses are available for study by distance learning. – Viktor Frankl. 2. work towards obtaining the formal qualifications you need to get ahead. Apply This to Your Life 1. then take proactive steps to investigate other ways of learning the skills you need. or invest the time in distance-learning classes. Before They Control You Everything can be taken from a man but the last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances.. It's never a good idea to wear yourself out in the race to get ahead. Managing Your Emotions at Work Controlling Your Feelings. If you can gain those new skills within your organization. volunteer for projects that will add those 'must-have' attributes to your résumé. Is your dream job a logical next step from where you are now? Assess whether you need to acquire new skills and/or qualifications to help you make that leap. Key Points Although it can be disappointing to realize that you lack the qualifications for the job you want. It's worth checking with your company when you register for a workshop. It might be willing to reimburse part of the expense.
and 'choosing' your reactions to bad situations? In this article. staff layoffs. if management is forced into making more layoffs. when your favorite project is cancelled after weeks of hard work. Stressful situations are all too common in a workplace that's facing budget cuts. As long as you share positive emotions constructively and professionally. they're great to have in the workplace! Common Negative Emotions at Work In 1997. and department changes. your reaction to stressful situations like these might be to start shouting. we look at the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace – and how you can manage them productively. and How Should We Measure It?' According to Fisher's research. a boss who is too . as well as your productivity. or optimism usually don't affect others in a negative way. So. these types of behavior could seriously harm your professional reputation. or to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for yourself for a while. You know. After all. It may become harder and harder to manage your emotions under these circumstances. feelings of joy. Why are we focusing only on negative emotions? Well. they may choose to keep those who can handle their emotions. and work well under pressure. Worry/nervousness. but it's even more important for you to do so. how can you become better at handling your emotions. no matter what the situation is. or unable to move forward in some way.. the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace are as follows: • • • • • Frustration/irritation. After all. Below are different strategies you can use to help you deal with each of these negative emotions. Dislike. But at work. Frustration/Irritation Frustration usually occurs when you feel stuck or trapped. compassion. when your best friend (and co-worker) is laid off suddenly.. or your boss assigns you more work when you're already overloaded.29 We've all been in one of 'those' situations before. excitement. Disappointment/unhappiness. In your personal life. Anger/aggravation. Bond University professor of management Cynthia Fisher conducted a study called 'Emotions at Work: What Do People Feel. you're always free to choose how you react to it. most people don't need strategies for managing their positive emotions. It could be caused by a colleague blocking your favorite project. As the above quote shows. when a customer snaps at you unfairly.
Write it down. because they can easily lead to more negative emotions. • • Worry/Nervousness With all the fear and anxiety that comes with increasing numbers of layoffs. For more on this. it's no wonder that many people worry about their jobs. such as anger. just move on. • • . Or. if you allow it. and be specific. and look at the situation. When it's people who are causing your frustration. Here are some suggestions for dealing with frustration: • Stop and evaluate – One of the best things you can do is mentally stop yourself. Ask yourself why you feel frustrated. and your willingness to take risks at work. which means they're not doing anything for you right now. and that isn't good for anyone. Try these tips to deal with worrying: • Don't surround yourself with worry and anxiety – For example. Instead. and this can impact not only your mental health. Try deep-breathing exercises – This helps slow your breathing and your heart rate. read Physical Relaxation Techniques. then you have more time to prepare. then breathe out slowly for five seconds. it's important to deal with feelings of frustration quickly. or simply being on hold on the phone for a long time. but also your productivity. that probably won't help you keep your job. Then think of one positive thing about your current situation. the situation probably worked out just fine after a while. For instance. and you sit there and worry. Breathe in slowly for five seconds. This small change in your thinking can improve your mood. Focus on your breathing. Find something positive about the situation – Thinking about a positive aspect of your situation often makes you look at things in a different way. Remember the last time you felt frustrated – The last time you were frustrated about something. Do this at least five times. they're probably not doing it deliberately to annoy you. it's certainly not personal! Don't get mad. right? Your feelings of frustration or irritation probably didn't do much to solve the problem then. if your boss is late for your meeting. Worrying tends to lead to more worrying. Whatever the reason. and nothing else. then don't go there and worry with everyone else. Focus on how to improve the situation – If you fear being laid off.30 disorganized to get to your meeting on time. if coworkers gather in the break room to gossip and talk about job cuts. And if it's a thing that's bothering you – well. you could use this time to relax a little. But this worry can easily get out of control.
and take whatever actions are necessary to mitigate any risks. write them down in a notebook or 'worry log. so learn to recognize them when they begin. Picture yourself when you're angry – If you imagine how you look and behave while you're angry. don't let your worries get in the way of being appropriately assertive.31 why not brainstorm ways to bring in more business. Remember. conduct a proper risk analysis around these things. Dislike We've probably all had to work with someone we don't like.' and then schedule a time to deal with them. and show how valuable you are to the company? • Write down your worries in a worry log – If you find that worries are churning around inside your mind. you can choose how you react in a situation. knowing that you'll deal with them. This interrupts your angry thoughts. then learning to control it is one of the best things you can do if you want to keep your job. stop what you're doing – Close your eyes. take our self-test How Good Is Your Anger Management? Also. Before that time. Anger/Aggravation Out-of-control anger is perhaps the most destructive emotion that people experience in the workplace. Stopping your anger early is key. and it helps put you back on a more positive path. But it's important to be professional. If you start to get angry. Just because your first instinct is to become angry doesn't mean it's the correct response. Here are some ideas for working with people you dislike: . imagine how you would look. Also. Is your face red? Are you waving your arms around? Would you want to work with someone like that? Probably not. • • To find out more about managing your anger at work. read Dealing with Unfair Criticism and Anger Management. Read our article on Building Self-Confidence to make sure this doesn't happen. Try these suggestions to control your anger: • Watch for early signs of anger – Only you know the danger signs when anger is building. When it comes to the time you've scheduled. and practice the deep-breathing exercise we described earlier. it can dent your self-confidence. If you have trouble managing your temper at work. no matter what. It's also the emotion that most of us don't handle very well. it gives you some perspective on the situation. When you're worried and nervous about something. you can forget about these worries. For instance. if you're about to shout at your co-worker.
Be assertive – If the other person is rude and unprofessional. right? And it's the hills and valleys that often make life so interesting. and calmly leave the situation. Remember. but make a small change – for example. that doesn't mean the goal is no longer reachable. Our Back On Track article provides practical steps for recovering from a major career setback. start brainstorming ways to solve it or work around it. If they did. and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to a group. Smile! – Strange as it may sound. as you would treat anyone else. If you've just suffered a major disappointment. please see Dealing with Difficult People and Egos at Work. you might be afraid to take another risk. Is it a co-worker? Is it your job? Do you have too much to do? Once you identify the problem. Adjust your goal – If you're disappointed that you didn't reach a goal.32 • Be respectful – If you have to work with someone you don't get along with. and all of that may hold you back from achieving. ups and downs. Keep the goal. Just because this person behaves in an unprofessional manner. these are the most likely to impact your productivity.') Try it – you may be surprised! • Key Points We all have to deal with negative emotions at work sometimes. then firmly explain that you refuse to be treated that way. your energy will probably be low. After all. Disappointment/Unhappiness Dealing with disappointment or unhappiness at work can be difficult. . negative emotions can spread. • To learn more about handling dislike in the workplace. life would be a straight road instead of one with hills and valleys. then it's time to set aside your pride and ego. set the example. Here are some proactive steps you can take to cope with disappointment and unhappiness: • Look at your mindset – Take a moment to realize that things won't always go your way. Treat the person with courtesy and respect. Remember. you always have the power to change your situation. Of all the emotions you might feel at work. that doesn't mean you should as well. • • Record your thoughts – Write down exactly what is making you unhappy. forcing a smile – or even a grimace – onto your face can often make you feel happy (this is one of the strange ways in which we humans are 'wired. and learning how to cope with these feelings is now more important than ever. delay the deadline.
Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position. It's not necessarily even about being the best "widget" maker you can be. and that you're ready to take on new ones. your value to the company is your efficiency. the harder it will be to pull yourself away from negative thinking. remember .33 Know what causes your negative emotions.in your pursuit of a promotion. You may even do your job exceptionally well. and stretching yourself beyond your current role. you still have to perform well and meet your current job requirements. It doesn't necessarily mean doing more things . my production output may suddenly fall! Focusing on simply what's expected of you may be a great strategy to keep the job you have. Think about it. before you head out to stop being effective at anything. If I promote you. Understand Your Organization To prepare for a promotion. Now. immediately start your strategy to interrupt the cycle. But going beyond what's expected.seemingly lessdeserving people . If you're busy working away. you have to really understand the drivers of organizational success. Discover ways to be more involved in the solutions . then. Ask yourself these questions: • • • • What are the strategic goals of the organization? How does your department's work fit into the overall strategy? How is your boss's performance measured? What critical functions do other people in your team currently perform? . producing more widgets per hour than anyone has ever produced. It's about showing that you have outgrown your current responsibilities. Get Ready for Promotion Showing What You Can Do You do your job faithfully every day. The longer you wait. Organizations move forward by solving problems. The key is identifying ways to add more value to your contribution. When those emotions begin to appear. Promotion isn't just about doing what you're paid to do.it means doing more of the RIGHT things. and which types of feelings you face most often.and that may move you forward too. that you've been in the same position for three years while others . can lead to a new job with more responsibility.have been promoted? The people who have been promoted may know one critical thing that you don't. Why is it. why should I promote you? Clearly.
34 You may even want to make lateral moves . you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities. find out about the skills you'll need in the new role. and they then delegate various pieces to their staffs. Also. This frees up your time and allows you to practice supervising others' work. promotion to a more senior level may become a realistic goal. Think about cost versus benefit. Offer to take on tasks that you know your boss dislikes or is weak in. Identify opportunities to delegate your own work. Determine what you need to learn to add more value. Then. To gain access to them. look for opportunities to lead projects. For example. and know how your role impacts the company as a whole. Try the following: • • • Volunteer to take on new projects and other opportunities. For example. and make a plan to acquire those skills. and stay current in your field. Get up-to-date. you first have to prove that you're capable of handling the increased responsibility. while also demonstrating individual competence.to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. When you have questions for your boss. These higher-level tasks are what you want to get involved in. When you have the right mix of experience and skill. and make sure you acquire these. come prepared with solutions as well. If your exposure is broader. You'll expand your range of experience. This involves working well as part of a team. perhaps by reading the industry press. Find opportunities to continue your learning and education. Expand your skill set. offer to cover a co-worker's responsibilities while he or she is on vacation. This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities. gain experience in other areas of the company. Here are some ways to prove your capabilities: • • • • • • Complete your work thoroughly and with as little supervision as possible. if you're a communications manager and feel that there's no place else to go with your job. Use good judgment when carrying out your responsibilities. to learn and practice other skills.it's a win-win! . review bottom-line results. and you'll make your boss's job easier . managers are given responsibility for something.to similar positions in different departments . They delegate in order to have more time to work on higher-level tasks. Increase Your Responsibility Typically. Become aware of the economic and business pressures facing your organization.
and who might champion your ideas. and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate. think how you can improve them . Look for a mentor within the organization. find ways to work around them. Be prepared for many of your ideas to not be accepted. Set your goal. . Having someone to talk to. Evaluate your strengths. How can you do something cheaper. If you prove that you're interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas. Rather than accept things as they are.35 Get Innovative To prepare for a promotion.and work hard to distinguish yourself and make yourself stand out. This demonstrates both your imagination and willingness to take risks. you're the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen. Take action with these steps: • • • • • • Identify your career goals within the organization. If you rely on someone else to make it happen. faster. See Finding a Mentor for practical steps and strategies. is a great benefit. and follow it through! See Personal Goal Setting for practical tips. this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion. you'll probably end up disappointed. and set goals to learn the skills you need for success. Find out what they did to get where they are. always think about how to do things better. A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals. Innovation isn't always improving things that already exist . or with less waste? Consider the following: • • • • Demonstrate critical thinking when you report to your boss.others in your company who may want the same position you want . the better. Understand the big picture. Look for things that aren't being done at all. Learn more about innovative thinking in Practical Innovation. The more you learn from other people's experiences. Talk to people who hold the kinds of positions and levels of authority that you want. Set Promotion Goals Ultimately.it's often adding something of value as well. and incorporate it into your decisions and solutions. Put forward your ideas. even if you aren't sure of the response.and come up with innovative ways to do those things better. Take note of who your internal competition might be . When you run into obstacles. That's one of the defining characteristics of leaders.
36 Communicate Your Desire Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. and then proactively work to achieve it. Be smart about the type of value opportunities that you create. Work with your boss to set performance objectives so that you can achieve the necessary skills and experience. are not guarantees of advancement. As you execute your promotion plan. use this as an opportunity to develop the skills you need. find out what experience and skills are needed to get that job. To prepare for promotion. increase your value to the organization. Using your knowledge of the organization. Seek advice on how to prepare for that role. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is no time to be quiet and shy. You need many people to know what you're capable of and what you want. expand your skill set. Here are some steps you can take to make your wishes known: • • • • • Identify a role or position toward which you want to work. take on more of the right responsibilities. Simply doing what's expected of you. and even being the best at what you do. though. you can create the path to the position that you want. Network with people in the company. That won't guarantee a promotion. Let people know what you want. Get the Recognition You Deserve . Let as many people as appropriate know what type of role interests you. let others who have influence over the decision know what you're doing. By being proactive. Ask for the promotion when it becomes available. If you aren't ready yet. Key Points Earning a promotion is partly within your control. Understand what drives your company's success. and communicate your promotion goals to others.
We want to know that our work is meaningful and that we've made a difference. hard check doesn't always communicate that. she forgets to show any gratitude to her stars. . Then. it would seem odd. or bonuses. you wish. or if you can handle that huge-but-fascinating project? Things don't have to be like that. Boasting of your own accomplishments can feel awkward. and you don't point it out to him or her. get thanks and recognition from management? Well. then what happens when you ask for a raise? How will he or she know you're ready for that promotion. you would. list the value that accomplishment has brought to the company. Believe it or not. you might forget something important that you've done. So. That includes you. Why? Firstly. but also share credit where credit is due. Be sure to make yourself look good. consistently win accounts that your co-workers only dream of. if you're a bit nervous. But look at it this way: If your boss doesn't notice your hard work. Make a list of the accomplishments you'd like to discuss. Beside each one. there is a way to do this. We'll show you how to get the recognition you deserve without looking like you're seeking attention. what exactly are you looking for? It's important to really define this. or a cold. because everyone wants something different. Do you want a simple "thank you"? An award ceremony in your honor? A raise? Step Two: Define Why You Deserve Praise Don't walk into your boss's office with no advance preparation to say what a great job you've been doing. An "Employee of the Month" certificate. That's why you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands.and to top it all off. people often just want simple praise. certificates. and never show up late . and as a result. You'd think that by doing all of this. Unfortunately. you finish even your worst projects successfully and ahead of schedule.37 Learning how to get praise Imagine this: You stay late at work. There are many types of recognition. You might forget the help a co-worker gave you. Step One: Decide What You Want Companies often thank staff with awards. at least once in a while. so decide what type you want. never miss deadlines. However. your boss is busy dealing with a "problem" member of the team. Have you ever been in a situation like this? Working hard and getting ignored by your boss can be rough. and leaving out that person could speak poorly of your character.
then do it carefully and tactfully . If you have something good to say. but this kind of trust is also a compliment. In your work environment. and help your boss understand how everyone would be more motivated if they just got a little praise now and then. Before you get upset. emphasize how you had help and how your co-workers should be rewarded for their hard work as well. If you appear insincere. she may also notice the great job that you've been doing. then you may have to do something bold to get management's attention. let's say you spent hours writing the annual message to shareholders. a "thank you" for a job well done is nice. and your boss only quickly glanced at it before passing it on to be copied. consider that her actions may really say that she trusts you to do top-notch work. If this feels a little too much like bragging. then think of ways to let your boss know what you're doing without being so obvious or bold. then say it. Keep the focus off yourself. perhaps all the problem behaviors get noticed. A Few Tips • Look closely at your boss's actions . send your boss an email every time you win a new account. and all the really great ones seem to be ignored. Tell your boss honestly how members of the team need some recognition.in a private area. and you don't even realize it. You know that list of accomplishments you just created? Read that over a few times before your meeting. These little "progress reports" keep your actions in the open in a delicate. and she doesn't have read every line to know you've done a great job.38 Step Three: Praise Yourself This is where you've got to get creative. For example. By bringing their hard work and accomplishments to your boss's attention. however. then people may notice. or when you're finally able to please your company's worst customer. Keep it genuine and honest. and you may look bad. You can also praise others in front of your boss. not-too-obvious way. • . so think of ways to let your boss know how hard you've been working. but don't speak up if you don't really mean it. You know your boss and your business environment. As you talk.he or she may be praising you. If you tell your boss directly. For example. Yes. If so.
and to do that. If your boss doesn't see the great work you've been doing.in their lives. If you notice co-workers doing something great. they're likely to be older than 50. It's up to you to prove that you can handle the added responsibility . Don't forget that your boss might need some praise and recognition too. If you're a team leader.or even one job . Think of subtle ways to get your boss's attention by talking privately." send that person an email and copy it to your boss. and consider copying that email to his or her boss. and praising your teammates when he or she is around to hear it. Whenever someone does something that's earned a heartfelt "thanks. Even if you keep the focus off yourself. having grown up at a time where company loyalty and hard work provided a steady career and a comfortable . If so. This can show your boss that you're leading by example. he or she might give that promotion or special project to someone else without knowing any better.39 Key Points Although not everyone is comfortable talking about their accomplishments. sending emails about small accomplishments. When you recognize the efforts of your team. and they're not working for the government. your boss has to know what you've already done. Apply This to Your Life: Ready to put this into action? Here are some easy ways to use this tool in your life right now: • • • Begin by recognizing the accomplishments of others. and send copies to your boss. it may get him or her to notice what you've been doing as well. you might harm yourself if you don't speak up. Send him or her an email when she's made a difference in your day. you should steadily earn your own praise as well Living with a Lack of Job Security Coping with uncertainty Some of the people you know may have only had a few jobs . send them emails praising their efforts. keep your eyes open for activities and co-workers that deserve praise. These are just a few ways you can "raise the bar" in your workplace to get other people thinking about praise and recognition.
"job security" can seem like a thing of the past. how do you deal with this uncertainty? First. keeping a positive attitude can make all the difference! If you're stressed about your career.and how can you prove that you could learn a new line of work? Look at your track record of being adaptable. This is why it's so important to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date. In today's job market. For more information. develop your nontechnical skills as well. It's impossible to know what the future will bring. contracting. read our Book Insight on "Career Intelligence" by Barbara Moses. then you have a lot to offer other potential employers if you get laid off. Next. Coping with Stress Living with constant insecurity can be stressful. outsourcing. So. so don't expect yourself to feel or react like they do: they'll manage stress their own way. but you can control how you look at it. however. So. and the chance to do something new. We'll show you what you can do now to deal with the feeling of a lack of job security. try some of these tips: • Remember the saying "Whenever one door closes. downsizing. the technical skills you need can change quickly. Some studies suggest that living with job insecurity .40 pension. think "outside the box. and financial situation are much different from those of your colleagues. be prepared. team management. They might have spent 20 or 30 years with the same company. If you're a good worker with marketable skills. If your lack of job security is due to a drop in demand for your technical skills. your organizational skills (time management. and leadership). willingness to adapt to change." What else can you do .can be more harmful to your health than actually losing it." Living with uncertainty can be uncomfortable. recession and even natural disaster. and use this site to build solid career skills. the world is much different. and your people skills. learn how to handle the psychological pressure and stress. and never having a reason to fear layoffs. because you'll know you've done all you can. • • . and keeping stress away. As a result of globalization. People entering the workforce within the past few years may have more than 10 different jobs before they retire. Here. Your home life. so preparing in advance can help reduce your worries. another one opens. The lack of job security that goes with this is something that almost everyone must face at one time or another. and learning how to cope is essential to being happy. It's important to realize that not everyone reacts the same way to job insecurity. These days. never making the break to search for something better.the "fear" of losing your job . It can be an adventure.
Remember. you ALWAYS have control. to a different department or even a different branch. Help another team member who's falling behind. so that you know what's going on in your field. make sure you give value to your company. "Brag" About Yourself Many people resist talking about their accomplishments because they don't want to boast. or what you're capable of doing. So. you keep him or her informed of your value. It's your life. If you're part of a team (or if you're leading a team). For more on how to brag about yourself (without being viewed as arrogant or overconfident). Be PROactive instead of REactive.no matter what job you're doing. Make sure you're up to date on your industry's certifications and trends. This kind of commitment can help to set you apart from the crowd. This can create negativity and hurt morale. By talking about your accomplishments. Stay Current Keeping your skills current is essential if you want to offer value to your company." then take control and act. . think about taking classes that would benefit your role in any company. and it's within your power to change it. Communicating and expressing frustrations are important. Start learning about other departments. You'll have to do more than "just the minimum" if you want to keep your job. or the person who's willing to take on extra work and always has something positive to say? If you face uncertainty in your field. have an open discussion. If you're afraid that you might get "downsized. Take outside classes and read trade publications. Be willing to stay late to finish a project. but don't let these fears dominate the group. Skills like effective time management. who would you lay off: the person who leaves at 5:01 pm each day and complains all the time. allow everyone to voice their fears. leadership techniques. Look for lateral transfers within your company. and you were forced to eliminate one position. but focus on what you can all do to move forward and cope. if you don't tell her. Also. and office organization can help you anywhere .41 • Stress can result from a feeling that you don't have control over your situation. read Getting the Recognition You Deserve. But think of it this way: your boss may not know how great you are. perhaps your skills would allow you to do something completely different within the organization. Do things to show your boss that you love your job and you'll do what it takes to help the company succeed. • Prove Your Worth If you were your boss.
Changing your mindset can go a long way toward reducing your stress. you might forget an important accomplishment that could mean winning . if you are laid off. It can also give you the resources you need to look further afield. Look at this change as an adventure and as the chance to try something new. If you wait until the last minute. living with job insecurity is a reality for many.this can help you take the time you need to find the best opportunity. And save some money. Save Your Money Few things are more stressful than wondering how you'll pay your bills if you suddenly lose your job. This can help you turn a bad situation into a chance to reevaluate your career. and invest time in keeping your skills up to date. and put yourself onto a new. But it doesn't have to be stressful and negative. your life is what you make of it! . Focus on the positive. Key Points In today's business world.the job. Remember. you can be ready at a moment's notice to apply for a new position even one within your own company. When your résumé is current. Take control by ensuring that your company knows how great you are. remember that the world is full of opportunities. if work dries up in your area.or losing . If you do get laid off. Preparing yourself for change is a great way to feel better about the situation. Save at least three to six months of living expenses . so you don't have to worry about paying your bills if you do lose your job. not on doubt and uncertainty. not just those who are actively looking for work (or afraid they might be soon).42 Keep Your Résumé Up to Date This is smart for everyone to do. and you can be sure to present yourself in the very best light. even if it's not the right match. You won't have to rush to make changes (and risk making mistakes). This alone can convince people to accept the first job offer they receive. exciting path.
Not everyone experiences each stage the same way. Also. or spend a long time in one stage and move quickly through the next one. and it can help to think in terms of Kübler-Ross's stages. Given the intensity of the stress you're likely to be experiencing right now. These are: 1. Workers who have more responsibilities might take longer to move to the acceptance stage.43 Life after Job Loss Coping with the emotional turmoil So. it finally happened. Acceptance. or whether you experience a certain stage at all. the more you know. Anger. Bargaining 4. 2. however it can be a profoundly unhappy and stressful experience. All of the headlines and statistics about the current economic crisis have become personal: you've been laid off. After all. losing a job may not be quite as upsetting as this. 3. Let's look at the stages in more detail. The Five Stages of Loss In a famous piece of research. Sure. your age and life situation might partly determine how long you spend in each stage. it helps to know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five different stages of grief that people go through when mourning the death of a loved one. or in the same time frame. Denial. simply because more stress is involved. Depression 5. • Stage One: Denial . and think about what you can do to cope with each one. the better equipped you'll be to handle the ups and downs that you're likely to face. You might skip a stage. A younger worker with no mortgage payments and no children may experience denial and self-criticism. but then skip directly to acceptance.
you have to open your mind to the fact that that bad. Talk with family and friends. you might start bargaining with yourself or your organization in the hope that your job loss is somehow reversible. This may give you the outlet you need to move past your feelings of anger. this is likely to be more practical. Don't pretend that you're just on an unexpected vacation or – worse – put your business suit on and catch the train as usual in the morning. In Kübler-Ross's original model. To cope. you might begin to feel very angry – angry at yourself. and make you feel worse. To cope with denial. • Stage Three: Bargaining After your anger has burned itself out. this reflected a form of subconscious bargaining with a higher power: "I just want to live to see my daughter married…" In the case of job loss. This doesn't mean that you should start kicking and screaming. or the economy in general. try to express your emotions in a healthy way. and that you have to live with them. if you've worked hard and "given your all". or seek counseling. and even unjust or wrong things do happen.44 If you're thinking things like "I can't believe I've lost my job" or you think that this is all a silly administrative mistake that can be fixed. your boss. but spend your day in a library or coffee shop with a newspaper. especially for the people around you. • Stage Two: Anger Once you're past the initial shock of losing your job. or even a counselor. Hurting the people you love will push them away. use anger management techniques. This can be one of the most difficult stages. After all. If your anger causes you to treat others badly. surely you deserve better than this? You might become angry at family and friends as well. your company. This is only prolonging the process of getting over what has happened. then you're in Stage One. .
" But. Or. and move on. as someone else also said. or reduced benefits. be aware of what you're doing. "It's the hallway in between those doors that's torture. another one opens somewhere. . This is also a great time to volunteer for an organization that you care about." Once you realize that your anger and bargaining tactics aren't working to get your job back. or train any new hires that come through the door. you might slip into a state of depression. Remember. learn from the experience. forgive yourself. you've got one foot on the ship and one foot on the dock. You're grieving for your lost job. if it was your fault. Bargaining is almost always futile. and that's an important step because it shows your finally coming to terms with what happened. and it could give you a sense of control in your life.45 For instance. You might offer to work part-time. Depression is something that can be dealt with quickly and effectively if detected. • Stage Four: Depression As the old cliché says. seek the advice of an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. you might go back to your boss and offer to work for less money. but is something that can be painful and lingering if left untreated. You just have to be willing to find it! Start doing something productive. your job right now is to find another job. but consider that something better might be out there waiting for you. Straddling them both will get you nothing but a miserable drop into the ocean. Warning: If you're experiencing significant or persistent unhappiness at this or any other stage. "Whenever one door closes. Helping others can be very healing. So what can you do to cope? Accept that losing your job wasn't your fault. Put your energy into moving forward. To cope with this stage. You can call it fate or destiny. Depression is the beginning stage of acceptance. Picture it like trying to board a ship that's setting sail.
There's no set time limit for any of these stages. or go through all five: everyone is different. or if it was your fault. If you feel like you're stuck in one particular stage and can't move past it. anger. the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. Breaking the Glass Ceiling Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowing that you have much more potential. bargaining. if not impossible. And the best news? You've faced the difficulties of losing a job. an invisible barrier seems to stop you from proceeding. is there a limit for "people like you" in your organization? If so.46 • Stage Five: Acceptance You've finally realized the truth: the layoff wasn't your fault. Tip: Now that you no longer have a boss to manage your performance. depression and acceptance.yet. Again. and you're stronger because of it. do something productive. then seek help so you can move forward. similar to what we experience at the death of a loved one: denial. Traditionally. It was very hard. exciting person with a lot to offer in your next job. Give yourself time to work through each stage. you might skip some stages." This is the point at which you can clearly see the next level of promotion . Key Points Losing a job can be emotionally upsetting and overwhelming. you've learned from it. Many experts agree that people go through five stages of loss or grief. give yourself a performance appraisal at regular intervals. you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling. You're a talented. Talk about your emotions. despite your best effort. for them to reach . and keep moving forward. Assess your work skills and also how you're doing at looking for another job. incredible.
You can accept your situation and be happy with looking up and not being able to touch what you see. indeed. they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers. These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision. you have a choice. risk takers. if you work for a conservative company (such as a publicly owned utility) chances are that top management are analytical thinkers. And it's not always limited to gender or race. Today. However.47 upper management positions. want to break through that glass. and not afraid to "tell it like it is. Ask yourself these questions: • • • What are the values of your organization? What behaviors does your company value and reward? What type of person is promoted? Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart. Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individuals who are outgoing. This is the first step toward discovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role. here are some steps to take. with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions. If you do. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicating your ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions? Whatever the reason. there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. ." However. Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company's upper levels. the glass ceiling is still very real. No matter how qualified or experienced. or you can smash the glass with purpose and determination. Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many different reasons.
skills. because it probably won't be handed to you. Communication skills will help you. You're responsible for determining your own career direction. then monitor and measure your performance. set a goal to consistently demonstrate assertive and clear communication. Don't set a goal to achieve a certain position by a certain time. Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives. Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop. and learn to use as many of these tools as possible. Start with the introduction to communication skills. This can be discouraging if it doesn't happen. For example. set goals to get there. and attributes. • Read everything you can about leadership styles. you've succeeded! See Personal Goal Setting for more ideas on how to define motivating goals. no matter what job title you have. read Core Competence Analysis and Deal and Kennedy's Cultural Model. You may also want to consider taking the Mind Tools How to Lead course. Two universal competencies for top management are effective leadership and effective communication. You never know who may be in a position to help you or .48 To further clarify these ideas. Each of these is complex. Remember to concentrate on areas of your performance that you can improve. regardless of the level you want to reach in your career. Be proactive and go after what you want. Build Your Network You should also build relationships with other people in your organization. • Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management Once you know your target. If you achieve that goal. Mind Tools has an excellent collection of articles on Leadership Skills. Do the following: • • • Let your boss know that you want to work toward a higher-level position.
Try these tips: • • • Reach out to new people on a regular basis. Find a Mentor Having a mentor is a powerful way to break through the glass ceiling. you'll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well. you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities. Many people tend to think it's best to make friends at the top. Read more about Professional Networking. Is upper management reluctant to work with certain types of individuals? Do they exclude certain people from important communications? A mentor can help you learn how to get connected to the information and people who can help you. A mentor can also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth. you can help your career by understanding and using the political networks in your company.49 provide you with valuable information. and old ideas are often long established at the top of many organizations. The barriers that you face have likely been there for a long time. Use the climate in your organization to your advantage. Ask yourself these questions: • • • Is there someone in upper management you can approach to help you? Will your boss be able to provide mentoring support? Are there people with strong political power who can offer you assistance? Read Finding a Mentor for details on what to look for in a mentor . Get involved with cross-functional teams. While "politicking" is often seen as negative. Past practices. Expand your professional network outside of your organization. biases and stereotypes. If you can't break the glass ceiling in your company. However. to be effective and actually make it to the top. It's important to network in all areas and levels of your company.
and any other competencies that are typical of people at the top.50 and ideas on how to find one. those at the top can see down. For more tips on building the right kind of reputation. Develop your skills and network with people so that your name becomes associated with top management potential. You want people to see your competence. while you can see up. communication skills. Key Points To get ahead and reach the leadership level you want. Sometimes biases and stereotyping can cross the line into discrimination. leadership abilities. It's unfortunate for both you and your organization when situations like this occur. Speak up and contribute in meetings. Know that you're doing everything right. Share ideas with peers as well as people in higher positions. the way to get ahead is to get noticed. That means proactively managing every . Mind Tools' article on Avoiding Discrimination shows you how to protect yourself if you face this regrettable situation. Visibility is very important. and arm yourself with a good understanding of your rights regarding official company policies and local laws. Don't just accept frustration and failure. you need to champion and market yourself. Build Your Reputation Ultimately. see What's Your Reputation? Know Your Rights Finally. Make sure that what they see is you! Follow these guidelines: • • • • Seek high-profile projects. Remember. Identify places where your reputation is not what you want it to be. To do this. and develop plans to change them. watch for discriminatory behavior. you need to build a reputation as the kind of person who fits the description of top management. technical knowledge.
and potentially change the direction of your . Apply some of the ideas in this article. like it or not. You probably didn't plan for it. So. consider the following: • • • • Do you have a career plan in place? If you don't. know what your goals are? Unless people know what you want. Apply This to Your Life If you're frustrated with your career advancement. Do you feel alone and unsupported in your career goals? If so. Ask for support and assistance . they may keep you in the same position and assume you're happy there. now is the time to make one! Does your boss. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. a mentor. and monitor your progress. who can help you change that? We all need to make our own success. What we can do is develop the skills that the company values. a strong network. not weakness. but most people don't succeed all on their own. Arm yourself with a development plan as well as the help of your boss. and a new boss is arriving to take his or her place. or anyone in your organization. you might have to work harder than others. Yet. and. what's going to happen now? Does this mean that you'll also have to change your job? Or is this a good opportunity to make a great first impression. • Getting a New Boss Starting an important new relationship in a positive way You may not have asked for it. What areas for skill development have been pointed out to you in the past? Are you making improvements? Are you facing a glass ceiling? Recognizing that the ceiling exists is the first step. If you can't seem to break through a glass ceiling. your old boss is leaving. The ceiling won't be removed unless you do something about it. and you may find new zones of opportunity. We can't all be exactly the type of upper management person our company wants. hopefully.51 step of your career.this is a sign of strength. You can then build and showcase the skills that will help you climb the corporate ladder.
You need to accept that this really is a new opportunity to make a first impression (this is one of the rare times that this possibility exists). Your new boss thinks he or she knows what you do. it's similar to when you first started your current job – you have to work to make a positive impression. a new boss will likely have different opinions. and even a different management style. In many ways. You don't want to overwhelm – or underwhelm – your new boss. Whether or not you worked well with your old boss is no longer relevant. in this case. This person needs your help. your new boss may be the ‘new hire'. So. He or she may have been promoted from within the team or from elsewhere in the organization. Who's Really the "New Hire"? In some cases. But you also need to know how and when to act. but doesn't know . It's up to you to build a relationship with your new boss.52 career? Many people in this situation limit their thinking to what has changed about themselves – which. and you have to be supportive. and expect to experience a three-month adjustment period. during which you'll both "settle in" and get used to each other. so the boss may look to you for help. you're not facing reality. you'll discover what's usually important for new bosses. Or your new boss may have had a similar position in another company – or even an entirely different role. Your New Boss's Background Your new boss may come from one of many different backgrounds. you are also new to your new boss. However. In this article. is nothing. Your new boss understands that he or she doesn't really know the work you do. Things will likely be different. but doesn't. and prove yourself. The situation has now changed: if you simply keep doing what you did before. different policies. and you'll learn how to make a positive and appreciated contribution that's good for both of you. There's a proper balance that you can find. This can lead to three possibilities: 1. 2. However. as well as which problems to avoid. so expect to change the way you work.
" with the ability to allow you – or deny you – access to a number of things that can impact your job satisfaction. Offer your help. Your new boss knows what you do. don't sulk about not getting the job yourself. but your boss has several relationships to manage with all team members. considerately. But your new boss may have a more general management background. you must face the reality that your company made a choice. perhaps. 3. Remember that your boss is also a "gatekeeper. this can be a significant opportunity for you to accept a new level of autonomy and responsibility – and get great career experience! Making the Relationship Work An important step in managing the relationship with your new boss is to accept it.53 it.) Some parts of this situation don't apply equally. and sufficiently. and you have to work with this new person. Perhaps your old boss knew exactly what to do in all situations. and don't be disrespectful towards your new boss. so you can focus on the other aspects of building your working relationship. However. or may not be able to offer advice on specific topics (this can be particularly true if you have a technical role). you're setting yourself up for conflict and failure. Whatever you might have thought about other candidates for the job (including. but don't appear too eager. yourself). Even if your new boss knows what you do. Our article Managing Your Boss discusses these situations as well as how to make adjustments for a boss's weaknesses that you may discover as the 90-day settling-in period continues. and particularly if your new boss is an ex-colleague. He or she may not have detailed knowledge that you can use to check your work. You have one relationship to manage with your boss. "Sucking up" may bother your boss as well as your colleagues. Tip: Be helpful. and then assess how your new boss reacts to your help: this will help you strengthen the relationship. . On the other hand. (If you were competing for the job. If you do either of these. this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll interact with this person the same way you did with your old boss. your relationship needs to be a top priority for you. Your goal is to educate tactfully. because she did your job before you got there.
Learn what your boss's expectations are: What does your new boss want from you now and in the longer-term future? How will your success be measured? If you understand what will help your new boss succeed (see above). Now What? covers this in detail. because this will help confirm to upper management that they made the right hiring choice..and it may therefore show you how you can make a positive impact: • Building competence and learning the new role: This includes dealing with information overload and creating a learning plan. These conversations can range from informal chats at the coffee machine to formal meetings in your boss's office or elsewhere. this will help you relate to his or her expectations. For example. • • Necessary Conversations with Your New Boss Here's a checklist of what you and your new boss should understand and agree upon as you get to know each other. and mutual availability as your guiding factors. while making sure that what's asked of you is still realistic.54 Helping Your New Boss Succeed Your new boss will likely target several goals during the early weeks and months. does your new boss think that the objective is to maintain a currently strong position or turn around declining performance? You may not agree on every point. but also figuring out who the key players are. individual preferences. but we've summarized some of the information here. • Determine how your boss views the current situation: Find out how your new boss sees things.. and linking tangible results with longer-term business goals. Creating quick wins to establish credibility: Credibility also means focusing on results that are important to the new boss's boss. Learning about and understanding the team members: This means not only getting to know them. Use common sense. but at least you'll know. Figure out your boss's working style: What you do • • . Our workbook Congratulations on Your New Role. This is what your new boss is likely to be thinking .
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